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China seizes $14.5 billion from former security chief

Image courtesy of WikipediaChinese authorities have seized assets worth at least $14.5 billion from retired domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang as part of a wide-ranging corruption investigation.

More than 300 of Zhou's relatives, political allies, and staff have also been taken into custody or questioned in the past four months, sources told Reuters.

Zhou has been under house arrest since Chinese authorities began investigating him late last year. He is the most senior politician to be subject to a corruption probe since the Communist party came to power in China in 1949.

The government has not made a formal statement about Zhou or the case against him. But President Xi Jinping ordered a task force to look into accusations involving Zhou late last year.

Incumbent and retired members of the Standing Committee traditionally have been considered immune from prosecution.

Zhou's one-time television reporter wife Jia Xiaoye was detained, and his eldest son from a previous marriage, Zhou Bin.

About 10 officials who held a rank equivalent to at least vice minister are also under investigation. Among them are Jiang Jiemin, former chairman of both state energy giant PetroChina and its parent China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), former vice minister of public security Li Dongsheng, and Ji Wenlin, ex-vice governor of the island province of Hainan.

More than 20 of Zhou's bodyguards, secretaries and drivers also were detained.


Julie DiMauro is the executive editor of FCPA Blog and can be reached here.